Monthly Archives: January 2019

Episode 4-25, In Theory

I liked this one. Data is the star as he tries to navigate his first romantic relationship and it’s often very funny, especially when Picard tells him he has no advice about women (reminded of Vash). I wish the final scene was different though, I really think there should have been some glimpse of the possibility of Data being hurt from being broken up with, him just sitting there just felt too cold.

Episode 4-24, The Mind’s Eye

The season started with the threat of the Borg who are terrifying but their purpose is simple and they aren’t necessarily cruel, just dispassionate. The Romulans, however, close out the season with their own terror which is far more deliberate and cruel. Having Geordi brainwashed and turning on his friends is insidious; the Borg would never put so much effort into something so elaborate. Still, the episode doesn’t deal strongly enough with Geordi’s loss of control and the episode is more of a spy thriller with Data saving the day. Not a bad episode, but it doesn’t really stick the landings.

Episode 4-23, The Host

The only real problem with this episode is that the Trills were a major plot element of DS9 with Dax and the Dax symbiont that it’s hard to watch this episode and not point out all the changes that were made to flesh out the Trills. Here the Trills don’t have the cool tattoos, but more importantly, here the Trills take over the host’s personality whereas on DS9 it’s established it’s a communal relationship between host and symbiont. However, uber-nerdiness aside, this is a very interesting episode that explores how far love can and can’t go between living creatures. Crusher has to endure real love, then that love through Riker, then again through a woman she has never met before – it’s a fantastic idea and I understand better now why DS9 wanted to have a Trill on the show since it raises a lot of fascinating questions. I will say, and maybe this is just me being too much of a boy, but the melodramatic elements of this episode were a little over the top, I mean how long was Riker standing at the bar staring at Crusher when she was talking to Troi?

Episode 4-22, Half A Life

Half A Life is another top 5 all time episode and is a nearly perfect Trek episode. Lwaxana is the main star this time, but she’s foiled by the fantastic David Ogden Stiers who just kills it in every scene. In fact he’s probably the best guest actor (non repeating) the show has ever had. His and Lwaxana’s relationship feels genuine and natural and the script doesn’t take the easy way out by settling for an easy answer to the question of euthanasia. Interestingly this is the first episode with Michelle Forbes who will be back later as Ensign Ro and was almost Major Kira on DS9. Majel Barrett does not get enough credit as an actress, her role as Lwaxana is impressive and this episode in particular really makes her a part of the main casting a way just as John DeLance does as Q Great, amazing episode.

Episode 4-21, The Drumhead

Really interesting episode that exposes the cracks in the Federation’s seemingly perfect society. But more importantly it shows how easy it is for people in power to condemn innocent people for things like national security, and the greater good. It’s easy to make anyone look guilty, it is a lot harder to constantly be vigilant against letting fascists take control. The episode was a warning for our own society. One of the best TNG episodes.

Episode 4-20, Qpid

Qpid returns not just Q but also Vash who Picard met on Risa last season. This was another very fun Q episode because he does get the better of Picard by getting him to reveal his weakness and emotion. This episode also has the greatest line of dialogue ever spoken on any Star Trek series when Worf insists that he is “not a Merry Man”.

Episode 4-19, The Nth Degree

The Nth Degree is a return of Barclay but while it’s great to have more Barclay, this wasn’t the best episode. The idea of becoming super smart is a tired trope (Homer Simpson and the crayon) and it doesn’t actually explore his character, it just makes him a conduit through which the action passes through. Still, it is a fun and light episode

Episode 4-18, Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis was not bad. Well made and acted episode with a cool premise but you knew Geordi was going to be OK so there wasn’t much real drama. Also, giving Geordi an old friend, Susanna, just didn’t work, she was so central to the story but because she was new it was hard to really care about that relationship. Data being ‘worried’ about Geordi was a nice moment, however.

Episode 4-17, Night Terrors

Night Terrors is a fun scifi episode (well, they’re ALL scifi episodes, but this one more so) with a resolution hinging not one one crew member, Data, but with Troi too. I’m not sure about the science behind this one – energy rift and lack of R.E.M. sleep making you crazy – but it was a cool idea and even got a mysterious alien we never meet involved. Very fun episode; I really enjoyed this one.

Episode 4-16, Galaxy’s Child

Galaxy’s Child is a fun episode, both because it follows up on the Dr. Brahma character from last season, but also the parallel story with the lifeform that lives in interstellar space. This was a well written episode on that it plays on the failings of technology in their utopia and how that can create personal conflict, but conflict that can be overcome. I always liked this episode and it still plays well years after having first watched it.

Episode 4-15, First Contact

First Contact is another fantastic episode and a very unique one in that the main players are not Picard and friends but the alien civilization they are attempting to make first contact with. What’s so good is that it realistic in how such an encounter would go with a species a lot like us: mistrustful, paranoid, political, and quick to rash decisions. This is a top 5 episode.

Episode 4-14, Clues

Clues is a really fun mystery where you really have no idea what’s going on until the end. And even when it’s resolved, the uncertain look on Picard’s face as he thinks something is not quite right is a fantastic way to end the episode. The aliens were maybe not that great, but the premise of them going well out of their way to keep everyone away from their planets was pretty cool. Fun episode.

Episode 4-13, Devil’s Due

Devil’s Due would have been a lot better had Ardra actually been a real mythological creature, but because we know she’s a con artist then there is really no mystery or anything interesting happening at all. The premise of a society using myth to create a better society is interesting, but that’s just not developed enough here and is a missed opportunity. Weak episode.

Episode 4-12, The Wounded

The Wounded is practically the first DS9 episode since it stars O’Brien and Keiko as well as Marc Alaimo, though not as Dukat (though given that character’s history, it could be). Overall a great episode even if we’re suddenly introduced to the Cardassians and the war (this hadn’t been mentioned before). Maxwell’s resolution was a little forced but they couldn’t have picked a better actor for the role. Also, the look Troi gives O’Brien when she senses his thoughts about the Cardassians is chilling; you can feel his hatred for them. TNG has grown up this season and it feels like a whole new (and better) show.

Episode 4-11, Data’s Day

What a fun episode! Smart move to push O’Brien more to the front of the show now that Wesley is gone and it’s nice to meet Keiko for the first time. This episode also successfully combines multiple story lines to tell a larger story about daily life on the Enterprise, Data’s communique with Maddox at Starfleet about his programming (from the episode Measure of a Man), and the ongoing threat match with the Romulans. Spiner, once again, nails his performance, but also manages to convey how he feels about his friends. All around fantastic episode and the show really feels as if it has hit its stride.

Episode 4-10, The Loss

This has always been another one of my favorite episodes. I love how it blends the science and the human elements into a cohesive story. Troi does a very good job being the center of the action and her resolution to the two dimensional beings was something only her character would have thought of. This also has the great funny moment with Will telling Troi how far a hug can go with Worf. Fantastic episode.

Episode 4-9, Final Mission

Final Mission is, I suppose, the last main episode with Wesley. It’s not a bad episode, but it’s strangely devoid of any real emotion. Maybe because Wheaton just isn’t that good of an actor, but he also was barely in control of the situation as it was so I never felt like he was really doing much to really save Picard. Also, why didn’t the Enterprise just park the radiation barge away from the planet for a while to go look for Picard rather than tow it through the dumb asteroid belt. Oh well, if this is Wesley’s last episode then it’s fitting that it’s not so great.

Episode 4-8, Future Imperfect

It’s almost as if someone dared the writers to come up with an interesting premise and then do their best to twist it into a complete and total trainwreck. The first 3/4 is quite good with a fun mystery, but the ending is so colossally stupid that I am stupider for having sat through it. It’s so stupid that it has brought dishonor to my ancestors just because I sat through it. I mean, what the fuck were the writers thinking?

Episode 4-7, Reunion

Kick. Ass. Episode. There isn’t even a bad line of dialogue in this one. Great episode that plays into the larger Worf story line, as well as the Federation’s relationship with the Klingons. Getting to see Gowron’s first appearance was great since he is such a great character. I also appreciate the issues Alexander has when he’s grown up in the later DS9 episode. I wish Trek would just make a Klingon show.

Episode 4-6, Legacy

Legacy is a fantastic episode with some of Spiner’s best acting. In fact it is remarkable how good of an actor he is to not only play Data but to allow him to grow even within the character’s limitations as an android. Overall this was a fun episode that touched on the troubles still plaguing the universe as well as the issues if trust among people and how that can be used to manipulate others. This is the sort of stuff Trek does best.

Episode 4-5, Remember Me

Remember Me has a great premise with Dr Crusher being the only person who is aware that the universe is shrinking, but the resolution is corny, though I do like The Traveler character. This is just a season 1 quality episode with slightly better writing. Also, when Wesley’s eyes are closed as he uses the computer you can see him typing on the plastic next to where the touch controls are, so even the characters miss the mark in this one.

Episode 4-4, Suddenly Human

Suddenly Human is the first TNG episode where Picard loses. It also raises the question of what it means to be human and how being raised by non humans would change a person. Sort of reminds me of Stands With a Fist in Dances With Wolves. The main problem with this episode is it needed more than 45 min to flesh it out, but it was still not bad. Another note is the show’s casting director loves casting these pouty, blonde kids to serve as guest stars.

Episode 4-2, Family

What an extraordinary episode! I’ve never seen this one before so it was all new for me and what a treat. Getting to see Picard’s family was great and it felt genuine, especially his anger with his brother, but the subplot with Worf and his parents was also excellent and I wish we got more of it. This is a top 5 episode; loved it.

Episode 3-26, The Best Of Both Worlds Part I

Ah, yeah, the Borg! The set up for this episode is interesting in how it explores Riker’s hesitancy in taking his own command and it’s a very good decision by the writers to introduce this dramatic element to his character. And I like how he’s competing with a younger officer who wants his job and isn’t afraid to tell him to get out of the way. Humanity might be more enlightened in Trek, but they’re still competitive as hell. Anyway, the Borg kick ass and the decision to kidnap Picard and use him to defeat Earth’s defenses is a good idea. Great episode with a perfect cliffhanger.

Episode 3-25, Transfigurations

Transfigurations is a pretty nice episode. The mystery of the man with no memory (trope alert) was well played mainly because of some good acting but the final confrontation with his own people was “resolved” too quickly, especially since they were just as powerful as the Federation. Also, the glowing suit effect looks worse now that the show is in HD since you can see he’s wearing a bodysuit. Old TV’s would have not been clear enough to see this. Still, a solid Trek episode with some interesting, if rushed, ideas.

Episode 3-24, Ménage à Troi

Another fun Lwaxana episode, this time with her being the object of unwanted desire. It’s too bad it took until DS9 before the Ferrengi were explored and made interesting because they are so thinly written as it is. Overall this is sort of a weak episode and the reveal of Wes being promoted to full ensign is underwhelming, though deserved.

Episode 3-23, Sarek

Sarek is a treat for Star Trek nerds since it deals with Spock’s father and the mythology behind the Vulcans but without having to spell it out to the audience. The scene where Picard relives Sarek’s emotions is amazing acting by Stewart and the overall theme in dealing with aging and one’s body giving out at the expense of personal dignity is quite well done. Excellent episode.

Episode 3-22, The Most Toys

The Most Toys is fun mostly because Saul Rubinek, as Kivas Fajo, has so much fun playing a sleazeball. The rest of the episode had nearly no thought put into it or was way too convenient (no Troi on the bridge to detect deception), and even remembering Data was too short. The one fascinating part, and what saves this episode, is the possibility that Data did attempt to murder Kivas Fajo and the poker face he gives Riker and O’Brien when he suggests a transporter issue. I like to think Data pulled the trigger, but it was smart for it to be left open.

Episode 3-21, Hollow Pursuits

Brocolli! I mean, Barclay!! Barclay is and always will be the one of the best minor characters on Star Trek. He is what I think most people really are like in the real world and he contrasts so well with the ideal Starfleet world of Riker and Picard. He’s nervous, fumbles relationships, but he means well if only he had the words and confidence. He’s relatable in a way no other Star Trek character is because he’s not an ideal, he’s just real. And the episode is really good because the issue with the Enterprise sort of mirrors Barclay’s inner turmoil and so the show has a nice mystery to it. Great episode.

Episode 3-20, Tin Man

Tin Man is a wonderful episode, the sort of great science fiction story that Trek does best. Ancient aliens that are living spaceships, telepathic communication, androids understanding human emotion, space battles with a powerful foe, it is all here. The casting is also excellent with Harry Groener as the troubled empath. Casting can make or break an episode and they nail this one. This is one of my favorites.

Episode 3-19, Captain’s Holiday

Captain’s Holiday is a fun episode, mostly because Picard is annoyed the whole time. I like how the whole ship, especially Riker try to get him to take a vacation and Riker even manages to get him to but one of those sex idols. Still, the whole plot felt forced and Picard and Vash didn’t have the greatest chemistry, though they were pretty good together, and she is a very interesting character who pops up now and again (even on DS9 if I remember right).

Episode 3-18, Allegiance

Allegiance is definitely above average, though the alien race that imprisoned Picard were too goofy and should have been more threatening. Still, it was a good chance for Picard to show off more great leadership even if the slip up that raised his suspicions was, like the aliens, goofy. Later episodes when Picard is captive, such as when he grows old and the 4 lights episode are far more interesting.

Episode 4-26, Redemption I

Redemption is basically Trek porn for this nerd since it’s all Klingon and Romulan intrigue. As an episode it’s sort of weak since the threat to Gowron never felt too strong, especially with Worf on his ship, but the real fun was seeing Worf’s name restored and then resigning as a Starfleet officer. Good episode to end the season, especially with Romulan Yar making her first full appearance (though they’ve been showing her in the shadows in the last episode).

Episode 3-17, Sins of the Father

Sins of the Father is cool because it sets up a story line that continues all thru TNG and DS9, in fact it isn’t until the final season of DS9 when this issue with Worf’s father is settled. The other great thing here is Tony Todd who plays Worf’s brother, Kurn. After Michael Dorn, Todd does the next best job of portraying a Klingon, especially because he has to play a character more conflicted and less sure of himself than Worf. Todd also starred in one of the other great Star Trek episodes, DS9’s The Visitor, when he plays an elderly Jake Sisko.

Episode 3-16, The Offspring

This is a strange episode to process. On the one hand it’s very uneven, mostly because it’s trying to fit a season’s worth of episodes into 40min, but it does somehow still work. Granted, the Admiral should not have been intractable and Lal’s progression was too rapid, but otherwise there was some strong emotion here. The best part was the Admiral describing Data trying to save Lal’s life rather than showing it. By having the audience imagine Data trying to save her makes us connect with him much more than by just showing it. I’d say this was a pretty good episode, in even and rushed, but memorable.